I am in full-on prep mode for my upcoming trip as a volunteer on a medical mission with Operation Smile. I leave in a little less than a month and it will be a month of collecting and making things to bring to entertain the kids at the hospital. I want to tell you a story of an act of kindness from a stranger. It made me smile. It made me tear up. I’m delighted to report that the world is full of wonderful people!
Last year I had taken 20 matchbox-type cars on the mission to Paraguay. I immediately realized I wished I’d brought more. I knew if I was ever lucky enough to go on another mission, I would take as many as could fit in my suitcase. But new ones aren’t cheap, unless of course you get the cheap knock offs. No way was I going to do that! I couldn’t in good conscience give an impoverished child a toy that’d surely break in mere hours (if not minutes). I wanted the real thing. So I logged into E-bay.
That’s where I met Carl. He had several lots of 100 cars available to bid on. In his description, he told how he would carefully wrap each one so that collectors would get unscratched cars. I sent him a note that if I won the auction, he needn’t go to that trouble for me. I explained to him why I wanted them and where they’d be going. A little scratched up is no problem for my use. Plus space in my luggage will be limited so if he wrapped them, I’d surely just have to unwrap them. And honestly, I was hoping to save some money on the shipping.
Carl wrote back to let me know that I’d be getting a box of cars regardless of whether I won the auction. He said he was going through his massive collection and picking out the best, the coolest, the strongest he could find. Additionally he said he would fill the shipping box until no more cars could fit–way over 100 cars. Carl set up a special item number just for me, so that no one else could get the special deal he wanted to give to me–rather, that he wanted to give to the kids in the Philippines. Cost to me: zero. That’s right zero. No shipping fee. No cost. Zip! Zilch! Sero (that’s zero in Tagalog, the language of the Philippines)!
The cars arrived in just days. And not in the medium flat rate shipping box. Instead in the large flat rate shipping box! SO MANY!! I bet at least 350 cars!! SO GORGEOUS!! Every color and model!! SO THANKFUL!! Carl, you touched my heart!!
So next time you get cut off in traffic or someone steals your parking space, please remember those jerks are the exception. Most people are kind and generous, just like Carl. And, more often than not, the “jerks” are just nice people having a hard time in this life and compassion from you can go a long way toward helping them to have a happier outlook.
Smile. Be happy. Be happier! Ruth
As always, you can help a child get a new smile by donating. ANY amount helps. The dollars add up to a chance for a new life!!